University of Wisconsin

La Crosse


Faculty Senate’s

Academic Program Review Committee






Report on the Department of Health Education and Health Promotion’s Public Health Unit



April 26, 2010






The Public Health Unit (PHU) Review Committee

Georges G. Cravins, Professor,

Department of Geography and Earth Science



Glenn Knowles, Associate Professor,

Department of Economics



Josh Leider



Report Contact: Georges G. Cravins []




I. Program Reviewed. Public Health Unit (Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education and Master of Public Health in Community Health Education).



II. Summary of Critical Dates.



A. Date the Program Self-Study was Submitted to the College SAH.



April 15, 2009.



B. Date of External Accreditation Review Team’s Report Submitted to SAH. 



May 18, 2007.


C. Date APR Received Report.



June, 2009.


III. Academic Program Review Committee’s Summary of Self-Study.


A. Basis of Information for APR Report. The APR’s study of the department’s programs is based primarily on the department’s own self-study, and on communication with the HEHP Department Chair and the Dean’s Office of the College of Science and Allied Health (CSAH). The most crucial piece of technical information on the PHU’s programs is the 2007 accreditation report by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The CEPH’s report is dated July 16, 2007, and is based primarily on the following:


·         Programmatic and organizational information submitted by HEHP to the CEPH;


·   The HEHP’s public health program description and promotion information found on the UW-La Crosse website;




·   A visit by CEPH representatives on October 9 and 10, 2006, which included meetings with program administrators, faculty, and students.


B. The Department of Health Education and Health Promotion’s Position within UW-La Crosse’s Health Mission and Program Offerings.

            The Department of HEHP is part of the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse’s broader health mission. Its role is to offer specialized programs that allow its graduates to enter professional occupations in K-12 education, hospitals and clinics, public health departments, voluntary health organizations, businesses and industries, and health-related organizations and agencies, both public and private. Its specific niche within the UW La Crosse health professions is in public health, specifically in community health and school health.


C. Types of Programs Offered by HEHP.                             

The programs offered by HEHP are all professional health programs which have the objective of placing students in jobs upon graduation. The Department of Health Education and Health Promotion is a unit within UW-La Crosse’s health professions “mix” which has national accreditation of both its undergraduate program and its Master of Public Health Program in Community Health Education. Special features of HEHP’s programs include:


·      A focus on population-based prevention of disease and/or injury and improvement in the quality of life. This is in contrast to other professional health programs within the College of SAH, which are focused primarily on clinical intervention, including on diagnosis and treatment of disease and injury.

·      Academic programs for both undergraduates and graduates that emphasize direct participation by students in local, regional, national, and international health organizations, hospitals, clinics, public health departments, and businesses and industries through credited experiences that are integral to the program’s curriculum.

·      Undergraduate programs that specifically target students who wish to become health professionals in hospitals, clinics, voluntary health organizations, businesses, industries, and public health departments and agencies.

·      Undergraduate programs that prepare students in entry-level responsibilities and competencies.

·      Graduate programs that aim to enhance skills levels and competence in community, public, and school health.


1) Degree Programs.


As of Fall 2009, the Department of Health Education and Health Promotion offered the following programs:


·      An undergraduate major in Community Health Education;

·      An undergraduate major in School Health Education;

·      A Master of Science degree in School Health Education;

·      A Master of Science degree in Community Health Education;

·      A Master of Public Health degree in Community Health Education.


2) Non-Degree Programs.


            The Department of HEHP is approved by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing to offer professional development of Certified Health Education Specialists. 


D. The HEHP Public Health Programs. The HEHP’s Programs which are the focus of the present APR review are the programs that comprise the department’s Public Health Unit (PHU). These include the Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education and the Master of Public Health in Community Health Education.  


The Public Health Unit’s Strategies for Achieving Major Programmatic Goals and Objectives. The APR has identified the following strategies that support the major programmatic goals and objectives of the Public Health Unit:


§  Course offerings, which are focused on both undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees in community health education;


§  Direct placement of students in public health work experiences called “preceptorships;”


§  Professional, external assessments, including systematic feedback from professionals supervising the Public Health Unit’s student “preceptees;”




§  For both undergraduate and graduate programs, reviews and attendant reports conducted by accreditation agencies


IV. APR’s Assessment of Strengths and Weaknesses of the Public Health Unit’s Program.


A.    Notable Strengths of the Programs.


1)      Support of UW-L’s Health Professions Mission. The programs of the Public Health Unit (PHU) – and the programs of the department generally – broaden the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse’s health mission by moving it beyond a narrow focus on clinical training, offering high-quality, specialized programs in the field of public health.


2)      National accreditation  of its Community Health Education programs by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).


3)      Direct involvement in community health through participation by students and faculty in local, regional, national, and international health-related organizations and agencies.


4)      Direct involvement by faculty in local, regional, national, and international health-related organizations through the coordination of programmatic activities with clinics, hospitals, public health departments, voluntary health organizations, businesses, industries and schools.   


5)      Competency-based learning outcomes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.


6)      Multivariate assessment of students, including direct measures, such as performance on the National Examination for Certified Health Education Specialist, and evaluation of student preparation by site supervisors (preceptors), and indirect measures, such as assessment of academic knowledge acquisition through exams, learners’ self-evaluation, observation through faculty-student interaction, and feedback commentaries from professionals in local health institutions.


7)      An up-to-date curriculum supported and informed by active faculty participation in public health research and in regional, national and international programs and conferences.


8)       Strong emphasis by the department on teaching, and an established record of changing the curriculum as circumstances require.


B.     APR Recommendations and Concerns.


   The APR has compiled a list of recommendations and concerns based on the following information: a) the 2007 CEPH report; and b) the Public Health Unit’s report to the Academic Program Review Committee, including an attached letter from the Office of the Dean of the College of Health and Science. In its accreditation report of 2007, the CEHP outlined a number of problematic areas to be addressed on a specific timetable[1]. The most significant – and critical – findings of the CEPH was in the area of program assessment. The CEPH review found that, in a number of critical areas, the department was given an accreditation rating of “partially met.” Given the fact that these recommendations and concerns grew out of the reports first initiated in 2006 and 2007, it is the view of the APR that HEHP needs to set specific target dates and timelines for addressing each major item listed.


1) APR Recommendations Related to Mission, Goal Setting, Assessment, and Program Linkages:


a)The program needs to develop a “clearly stated mission with supporting goals and objectives.”


b)      The program needs to develop specific targets to support “evaluation of progress against the mission, goals and objectives” of the program, and “for assessing the program’s effectiveness in serving its various constituencies.”


c)There is a need for the development of an assessment system for undergraduate student achievement “that includes, at a minimum, graduation and job placement rates.”[2]


d)     The Public Health Unit needs to collect follow-up information on undergraduate admissions to the program, including “applicant acceptance and enrollment data” to be used to “implement and evaluate recruitment and enrollment strategies.”


e)The program needs to document “the extent to which each student has demonstrated competence in the required area of performance” and to put “mechanisms in place to track all required aspects of student performance.”


f)    There is a need for the establishment of “measurable programmatic objectives” for the BS-CHE and MPH-CHE programs.


g)      The Public Health Unit needs to develop “clear mechanisms for using the data to make changes to improve program performance,” including the use of “outcome and target data to support program improvement.”


h)      The Public Health Unit needs to establish stronger links between the undergraduate and graduate program.


i)     There is a need to demonstrate efforts to “recruit and maintain a diverse student body for the BS-CHE and MPH-CHE degree programs.”


j)  There is a need to demonstrate clearer relationships between program goals and objectives and student learning outcomes as well as professional faculty activities such as teaching, advising, and professional development.


2) APR Recommendations Regarding Staffing Needs and Programmatic Goals:


a)Given the significant programmatic concerns raised by the CEPH and the CSAH, the HEHP must set specific target dates to meet the recommendations of both the Dean’s Office and of the accreditation agency.


b)      The HEHP should consider specifically identifying personnel within its Public Health Unit who have the responsibility for program assessment and other accreditation-related issues.


c)In view of the increase in undergraduate majors in CHE, the university should consider support for additional FTE’s for HEHP.      


3) Observations Based on Unit Data Supplied by the University.


a)      There is significant fluctuation in the numbers of students enrolled in some HEHP programs (Figures 1, 3, 4, Figure 7, below);


b)      In undergraduate programs, the credits-to-degree are well above the average for UW La Crosse (Figure 6, below).


V. APR Comments on Components of the HEHP’s Self-Study.


A.   Purposes. The Public Health Unit’s statement of purpose is consistent with its mission, its program activities, and its program objectives.


B.     Curriculum. The CEPH accreditation report indicates that, with respect to its curriculum, the Public Health Unit has met its goals and objectives in critical areas, including in the number of credits offered, in “public health core knowledge,” practical skills, required competencies, and culminating experiences offered to students.


C.    Assessment of Student Learning and Degree of Program Success. The APR finds no problem in student learning and program success. However, the greatest single area of concern is in program assessment and the collection and use of data in order to inform and support programmatic operations. As has been indicated elsewhere in the present report (above), the information from CEPH and the CSAH indicate that additional work is needed in this area, including in tracking of students and data collection, as well as in utilizing the data collected to enhance program planning and development.


D.    Previous Academic Program Review and New Program Initiatives. The previous APR review, which was included in the self-study report, was not significantly useful. Program initiatives indicated in the report do not substantially alter the existing programs.


E.   Personnel. Full time FTEs at the time the data was collected was approximate 7, including teaching academic staff. Based on discussions with the HEHP Department Chair and recent data on undergraduate student enrollment, there is the recognition that additional personnel may be needed (see Recommendation 2-c, above). 


VI. External Reviewer Recommendations. Previously covered under “Recommendations and Concerns, above”. The detailed report by the external reviewer (the CEPH) formed the basis for much of the recommendations made in the present report. 


VII. Dean’s Letter. Ideas, including observations and recommendations contained in a statement from the Office of the CSAH Dean, issued in a letter written by Associate Dean Ray Abhold and dated June 11, 2009, are incorporated into the body of this report. Fundamentally, the observations contained in this letter summarized the major findings of the accreditation agency regarding the need for better undergraduate-graduate program linkages, data collection, and program assessment.


VIII. APR’s Recommendations




   No serious areas to address – review in 7 years.


XX  Some areas to address, with specific timelines negotiated with the CSAH Dean’s

Office and the Office of the Provost. Review in 7 years.


  Some areas to address – department should submit short report on progress to Faculty

Senate and Provost’s Office in 3 years.




Appendix A. Salient Data on HEHP and Community Health Programs, 2001-2008.






Appendix B. Data on School Health Programs, 2001-2008.



[1] Letter of July 16, 2007 to Dr. Gary D. Gilmore of the Department of Health Education and Health Promotion from Audrey R. Gotsch, CEPH.  

[2] CEPH, “Review of the Program in Public Health Studies at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.” p. 17.